Contributions to the AICCM National Conference 2013, Adelaide 23-25 October


This paper will examine two aspects of the question ‘Are all objects equal?’ It will consider their equality in terms of significance and fragility. It will start from the assumption that until recently many conservators have adopted the precautionary principle by treating all objects as equally significant and equally fragile. However, in the 21st century in order for museums and heritage organisations to be sustainable hard decisions have to be made about what is affordable – financially and ecologically. This paper will demonstrate how a risk-based approach can lead to a more sustainable future for museums and heritage organisations using two case studies. The first is about recommendations for environmental conditions for international loans between countries with different climates. The second is about the use of objects in the presentation and interpretation of collections in historic houses.


Significance, fragility, precautionary principle, preventive conservation, risk management

AICCM National Conference 2013
Paper author:
Sarah Staniforth